With a week to go to the start of the Edinburgh International, it is time to have a look at the sections and teams and begin to pick winners and losers.
There are eleven teams from overseas competing in the event, including regular visitors Aku Kauste from Finland, David Šik from the Czech Republic and two young teams skipped by Jaap van Dorp from the Netherlands and Sweden’s Fredrik Nyman. It is also good to see Finland’s veteran Olympic Silver medallist skip, Maarku Uusipaavalniemi back competing in Scotland. He has been to Edinburgh before, but his most famous Scottish appearance, I suppose was at the Glasgow World Championships way back in 2000 when he and his team beat the USA’s Craig Brown 9-4 in the Bronze medal game.
Favourite for this year’s competition though has to be Scotland’s Tom Brewster, with his team of Glen Muirhead, Ross Paterson, Hammy McMillan and Thomas Muirhead. They currently sit proud at the head of the Champions Tour rankings with twice as many points as Thomas Ulsrud in the number two spot. Bruce Mouat also finds himself in the top twenty at this early stage in the Champions tour and has a real chance to progress up the rankings. Last year’s Edinburgh International Champions, skipped by David Edwards with John Penny, Scott Macleod and new lead this season, Billy Morton recently won the tough European playdowns against reigning Scottish Champions, Ewan Macdonald, reigning Olympic Silver medallists David Murdoch and Tom Brewster – so he is in good form as well.
In terms of the four sections, I am predicting Brewster and Mouat from section A, with both David Šik and Maarku Uusipaavalniemi competing strongly. From section B, it looks to me like Kyle Smith and Lee McCleary, but look out for Graeme Black and Aku Kauste. David Edwards and young van Dorp look good in section C and finally from Section D, Rantamäki and last year’s beaten finalists, Ross McCleary.
All to play for!
The competition kicks off at 8.30 am on Friday morning and the final is at 2.30 pm on Sunday 9th November. There is viewing from the club rooms above the rink as well as in the rink itself. Needless to say that there is a restaurant and bar for spectators, so why not come along and have a look at some of the best curling you will see in Scotland this year.